SEBRING, Fla. – A thrilling Saturday of IMSA racing at the virtual Sebring Int’l Raceway was ruled from start to finish by the factory BMW GT Le Mans organization.
IMSA’s Sebring SuperSaturday special, a 90-minute affair at the 3.74-mile circuit that marked the sanctioning body’s first organized iRacing event, saw the Turner Motorsport BMW entry of Robby Foley shuffled out of the pole position in the opening corners.
From there, first Nicky Catsburg and then eventual winner Bruno Spengler found their ways to the sharp end of the field and stayed there throughout.
Catsburg led from the middle of the first lap until just before the 25-minute mark, when a minor mistake under braking at turn seven allowed Spengler through to the race lead.
After that, despite a green-flag pit cycle, Spengler led the remaining distance for the win.
A current BMW factory man, Spengler led home Catsburg – now a Corvette Racing driver in real-life IMSA competition – and Jesse Krohn in a smashing podium sweep for the German marque.
The margin of victory for Spengler was 3.172 seconds at the virtual checkered flag.
“It’s great to organize such an event,” Spengler said. “It’s amazing for IMSA to organize something like this. When I crossed (at) start/finish, it felt real. I have goosebumps from this. It’s a whole team result. I’m sweating, but I really enjoyed it.”
After the race, Catsburg knew his lone mistake on the road was the critical juncture that likely cost him the race win in the end, but he was still pleased with the team effort.
“I made a mistake and Bruno was the stronger man today,” he said. “This was so much fun today and I never mind losing to Bruno.”
NTT IndyCar Series part-timer Sage Karam finished fourth in a Porsche and two-time Rolex 24 class winner Mirko Bortolotti completed the top five, also in a Porsche.
Other notables in the top 10 included past Indianapolis 500 starters Tristan Vautier and Gabby Chaves, who finished ninth and 10th, respectively.